Step back in time with Disney’s ‘Bedknobs and Broomsticks’

Long considered a classic film for children and adults of all ages, “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” is another installment in Disney’s journey of blending live action and animation. The film won an Oscar for visual effects in 1972, proving Disney’s strength in what was, at the time, a relatively new filmmaking technique. Many will remember the underwater fantasy scene and its exquisite blend of live action, animation, and song.

Set in England during World War II, a young witch, played by Angela Lansbury, joins forces with an unlikely con man turned hero, played by David Tomlinson of Mary Poppins fame. Our young witch is also in charge of three young children, who have been evacuated from London and placed in her care in the hopes of saving them from the potential Nazi invasion. Eglantine Price (Lansbury) has just discovered she is a witch and hopes to use her newly found powers to prevent such an invasion. However, in order to do so, she and the children must find the words to a magic spell that will most surely put an end to the Nazi advancement.

Using an enchanted bedknob, Eglantine and the children fly throughout England on her late father’s bed trying to find this spell which will undoubtedly end the war. Filled with dastardly villains and unassuming heroes, “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” remains a classic film from the heyday of Walt Disney’s productions.

Show times are 7 p.m. on Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Visit the theater for tours and check out the gallery and exhibit hall that features Iowa stage and film memorabilia and information. Call the Orpheum Theater Center movie hotline at 641-844-5907 or visit

Laura Armstrong is an associate professor of English at Iowa Valley Grinnell.